30 September 2019
Creatine is for Strength
All too often in life, humans get stuck at a wall when trying to achieve a goal. This often applies to people with health and fitness goals. In the 1990s, a popular supplement emerged that promised strength and endurance gains for athletes. This supplement is creatine monohydrate, which can be taken in a powder or pill form. Creatine is naturally produced in the kidneys and then stored in muscle cells. It is also ingested into the body through many foods such as red meat and fish. Creatine plays a key role in helping muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or intense exercise. Unlike many performance enhancing supplements, creatine is not banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or by the Olympics. Creatine has also been used to treat certain medical conditions such as, heart failure. Due to popularity, it has become the most studied supplement by athletes and scientists. By exploring the biochemistry, the uses of creatine, and the side effects, it becomes clear that creatine, when used as directed, is an excellent supplement to use when strength training.
Creatine was first discovered in 1832, when a French chemist, Michel Eugene Chevreul, extracted the compound from meat (Soroka 2018). It was later confirmed in the 20th Century that using creatine as a supplement can increase the creatine content in muscles. Supplementation did not become popular until the 1990s when two Olympic gold medalists credited creatine as part of their success. By 1996, eighty percent of the athletes competing in the Olympic games were using creatine as well (Soroka 2018). These athletes supplemented five grams of creatine into their diet daily. The success of these athletes has led people to look into the nature of creatine.
Creatine is used to regenerate adenosine triphosphate, commonly know as ATP. ATP is an energy molecule found in every cell and is used to supply cells energy; therefore, more ATP means more energy. The body uses stored ATP in a few seconds, which makes faster regeneration of it beneficial. Creatine is primarily stored in the skeletal muscles and its creation starts in the kidneys, making it a natural supplement. Most people get creatine daily through meats, fish and supplements. There is an upper limit of 160grams of creatine that can be stored in our bodies; therefore, people who already have full stores of creatine from their diets will not benefit from supplementing (Hall 2013). Reaching the upper limits from regular food is not normal for most people.
The human body produces about one to two grams of creatine a day (Andrews). People can get much of their creatine from their regular diet. Red meat and pork contains about five grams of creatine per kilogram and fish contains about four grams per kilogram (Jacob). This makes supplementing creatine to a regular diet more practical to reach the upper limits of creatine. Anything above the 160gram upper limit is urinating out of the body. Due to the benefits, many athletes have looked into the pros and cons of supplementing creatine.
In the article, Creatine: Why Use It?, by David Robson, the many benefits of creatine are explained. According to Robson, creatine helps strengthen contraction in muscle fibers. This helps an athlete to put up more repetitions when lifting, run faster, and engage at a higher intensity. Creatine allows the muscle to store more energy to enhance these contractions. Creatine has a property that causes muscles to inflate. This allows for more lean muscles to be created and stimulates protein synthesis. Not only does creatine plays a role in creating muscles, it enhances recovery.
After hard training or a strenuous event, creatine can enhance recovery time. In Robson’s article, there is a study done on a control group of athletes. One group supplemented twenty grams of creatine a day for five days, while another group is given a placebo. The subjects who were given creatine showed reduced amounts of cell damage after a race. It is concluded that creatine supplementation reduces cell damage and inflammation following exhaustive exercise. Though creatine is great for training, it is not just used by athletes.
The article ventures into the enhancing of brain functions due the supplementing of creatine. In Robson’s research, creatine has shown to increase the survival of nerve cells in the brain. This is due to creatine ability to aid the brain in surviving metabolic trauma during metabolism. The article goes further by researching a control group’s short-term memory. One group is given five grams of creatine for six weeks, while the other group is given a placebo. After six weeks, both groups were given a test and the group using creatine had better results. Clearly, there is a benefit for taking creatine for a long term.
As people get older, there is a natural decline in hormones, which leads to muscle lost. The first muscles to be sacrificed are the fast twitch fibers that helps with our muscle growth. Since creatine promotes growth in these fibers, creatine will postpone the aging process naturally. That is why it is recommended to continue use even at an older age. Furthermore, the article did a study in which a group of men and women over the age of sixty-five were split into two groups. Half were given five grams of creatine and the other group a placebo. They were trained three days a week in a fourteen-week program. The group using creatine had a clear increase in lean muscle mass when compared to the other group. Robson’s view of creatine is that it is beneficial to insert it in any diet; however, not all agree.
In the article, The Side Effects of HPLC Pure Creatine Monohydrate, by Joe King, it explores the side effects of creatine monohydrate, which is the most popular variation of creatine. The article starts with how the supplement version of creatine is created. It is processed through a HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) machine that breaks down the creatine into smaller molecules for the body to absorb it faster into the bloodstream. Though King suggests that creatine is relatively safe, he explains some of the side effects.
The first side effect King discusses is water retention. Creatine causes the body to retain water through a process called myofibril hydration. During this process, water is pulled into your muscles from other parts of the body and may prevent the rest of the body from functioning properly. This causes increase thirst and possibly dehydration. In addition, King writes, “Excess water retention can give you the feeling of being bloated, but the increase in myofibril hydration may make your muscles appear more full” (King 2). Though King suggests this is a side effect, one of the goals people have in mind when taking creatine, is to increase muscle size. One of the directions, when taking creatine, is to increase water intake; therefore, dehydration is not a factor if taken properly. Water retention is the least of the worries when taking creatine.
When taking any supplement, one must be sure they are healthy enough to take it. King suggests that creatine intake may increase stress on the kidneys and renal system due to an increase in urine production. This is due to extra water intake needed when on creatine; which causes more urination. King elaborates by stating, “If you suffer from a weak renal system, HPLC creatine monohydrate supplementation may aggravate your condition” (King 2). In short, creatine should not be taken by individuals with kidney problems or problems urinating. Frequent restroom visits will cause anyone to be in a bad mood, but King also suggests that creatine effects mood in other ways
According to King, some people on creatine have reported an increase in aggressive behavior and anger. He states, “The change in mood while supplementing with creatine monohydrate have occasionally been attributed to an increase in testosterone levels” (King 3). For male athletes, an increase in testosterone levels is one of the main benefits of creatine. The higher the testosterone levels, the more strength and muscle gains they can achieve. Furthermore, King states that mood swings are also caused by mild dehydration. This validates the need for extra water intake as the directions state, when supplementing creatine.
Without a doubt, creatine, when used correctly, is a great supplement to add in anyone’s nutrition during strength training. The aiding in muscle size, strength, recovery, and brain functions can be beneficial to anyone. It is not a miracle drug that someone can get its the benefits by taking it alone. It is a supplement taken with regular exercise and a proper diet. Users need to stay hydrated and be sure their renal system is healthy. Adding creatine as a supplement is not for everyone. For someone looking to lose weight, creatine will make them gain weight due to the extra water retention and muscle gains. Creatine is not for the mild athlete who only look to stay in shape or get in shape. Supplementing creatine is for athletes looking to gain strength and size to push pass the plateau they may have reach during their fitness journey.
All About Creatine, Andrews, Ryan. 2014, http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all/about/creatine accessed 20 September 2019
This article explains the effects of creatines on a more scientific level. It goes into the what it does to our vital organs and cells. The article also shows possible usages of creatine. I plan to use some of the explanations in the article in regards to creatine on a bio level. I may or may not use one of the pictures as well. The article seems reliable due to the fact that the author shows no bias and has a master in science .
An Introduction to Creatine, Soroka, Jeremy. 2018, http://www.scq.ubc.ca/an-introduction-to-creatine accessed 20 September 2019
This article starts by explaining the basics of creatine as well as in a biochemistry level. It has many controlled studies in the article to show the safety and functions of creatine. I plan to use some of the studies as evidence as well as information on percentages and history of creatine. This is a scholarly journal and therefore reliable
Creatine Supplementation, Hall, Mathew DO. 2013, journals.lww.com/ascm- csmr/fulltext/2013/07000/creatine_supplementation.10.aspx accessed 20 September 2019
This article shows the dosing of creatine in the body and the limits the body can handle. The article also talks of potential risks. I plan to use the article to show the upper limits of creatine. This is a scholarly journal and is reliable.
Creatine: Why Use It?, Robson, David. 15 January 2019, http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/creatine/-why-use-it Accessed 20 September 2019
This article venture into why we should use creatine. It also have many controlled studies of different functions of creatine. I plan to use many of the controlled studies used in this article. The author is a pro body builder and personal trainer with degrees in his trade. The research he made are cited from good sources and seems reliable.
How Much Creatine in Red Meat, Jacob, Jessica 2009, http://www.healthfully.com/533707 accessed 20 September 2019
This article explores how much creatine we eat through a normal diet. It has number of grams of creatine for many types of food. I plan to use this data to show that creatine is a natural supplement. The author is a registered dietitian with degrees in nutrition and food sciences so the article seems reliable.
The Side Effects of HPLC Pure Creatine Monohydrate, King Joe. 2018, www.livestrong.com/article/443226 Accessed 20 September 2019
This article explores the possible side effects of creatine. It also gets into the function of creatine and what it can do to the body. I plan to use this article as the opposing argument that some people may have and to explore these possible side effects. The author has a master in science and cited scholarly journals, so it should be reliable.